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Friday, April 2, 2021

| April 2, 2021

The Michael Harrison Wrap Reaches 100 Installment Milestone.  This weekend’s installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap” marks the program’s 100th episode.  It is heard weekends on stations and regional networks coast to coast in the US and across the UK and is available on a market exclusive basis to stations in syndication by Talk Media Network (TMN).  For affiliate information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

NOW POSTED:  This Weekend’s Installment of “The Michael Harrison Wrap: An Overview of the National Conversation.” The latest installment of the one-hour weekend special, “The Michael Harrison Wrap,” that looks back each week at the hottest topics discussed in American talk media per the research of TALKERS magazine, is now posted. This new episode titled, “Trillions and Trillions,” looks back at this past week of March 29 – April 2. The program features guests (in order of appearance): Kevin Casey, executive editor, TALKERS magazine; Dr. Daliah Wachs, talk show host, Genesis Communications NetworkDerek Hunter, talk show host, WCBM, Baltimore; Joe Madison, talk show host, SiriusXM Satellite RadioVince Benedetto, CEO, Bold Gold Media GroupRichard Neer, talk show host, WFAN, New York; and Victoria Jones, executive director, DC Radio Company.  The show airs each week on its flagship, WONK-FM, Washington, DC, Friday evenings at 6:00 pm ET. It also airs throughout the weekend on WTIC, Hartford; KSCO, Santa Cruz, CA; KDFD, Denver; KFNX, Phoenix; WVLY, Wheeling, WV; WTRW-FM, Scranton/Wilkes Barre, PA; WVOX, Westchester, NY; KBDT, Dallas; KQSP, Minneapolis; KBKW, Aberdeen, WA; WGDJ, Albany, NY;  WJFN-FM, Richmond, VA; WZFG, Fargo; KTGO, Tioga, ND; KWAM, Memphis; K-NEWS, San Luis Obispo; WGMD, Rehoboth Beach, DE; WCHM, Clarkesville, GA;  WPHM, Port Huron, MI; KSYL, Alexandria, LA; KTOE, Mankato, MN; WCED, DuBois, PA; K-NEWS 101.3, Owensboro, KY; WWTK, Sebring, FL; WSAR-AM/FM, Fall River, MA; WIZM-AM/FM, La Crosse, WI; WMVA, Martinsville, VA; the Virginia Talk Radio NetworkCRN Digital Talk Radio Network; the iHeartPodcast NetworkPioneer Valley Radio, Springfield, MA; Podcast Radio, UK and many more.  To listen to this week’s episode, please click here. To view the latest TALKERS magazine topic research, please click here.  “The Michael Harrison Wrap” is now available in syndication via Talk Media Network to stations across America on a market exclusive basis. For affiliation information, please click here or call 616-884-8616.

Supreme Court Unanimously Overturns 3rd Circuit Court’s Vacating of FCC’s Ownership Regulations. As most media watchers are aware, in 2017 – after what many radio operators say was a long time coming – the FCC concluded that three of its ownership rules no longer served the public interest and it repealed the Newspaper/Broadcast Cross-Ownership Rule and the Radio/Television Cross-Ownership Rule and it modified the Local Television Ownership Rule. Shortly thereafter, a collection of public interest and advocacy groups known as the Prometheus Radio Project appealed the FCC’s ruling to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals which vacated the FCC’s reconsideration order holding that the record did not support the agency’s conclusion that the rule changes would have minimal effect on minority and female ownership. The FCC petitioned the Supreme Court to hear the case and yesterday (4/1), it ruled that the FCC’s rule change was not “arbitrary and capricious under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA).” The unanimous ruling from the Supreme Court said, in part, “In challenging the FCC’s order, Prometheus argues that the Commission’s assessment of the likely impact of the rule changes on minority and female ownership rested on flawed data. But the FCC acknowledged the gaps in the data sets it relied on, and noted that, despite its repeated requests for additional data, it had received no countervailing evidence suggesting that changing the three ownership rules was likely to harm minority and female ownership. Prometheus also asserts that the FCC ignored two studies submitted by a commenter that purported to show that past relaxations of the ownership rules had led to decreases in minority and female ownership levels. But the record demonstrates that the FCC considered those studies and simply interpreted them differently. In assessing the effects of the rule changes on minority and female ownership, the FCC did not have perfect empirical or statistical data. But that is not unusual in day-to-day agency decision making within the Executive Branch. The APA imposes no general obligation on agencies to conduct or commission their own empirical or statistical studies. And nothing in the Telecommunications Act requires the FCC to conduct such studies before exercising its discretion under Section 202(h). In light of the sparse record on minority and female ownership and the FCC’s findings with respect to competition, localism, and viewpoint diversity, the Court cannot say that the agency’s decision to repeal or modify the ownership rules fell outside the zone of reasonableness for purposes of the APA.”

The NAB Comments on the Supreme Court’s Ruling. The National Association of Broadcasters issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s overturning the 3rd Circuit Court’s vacating the FCC’s ownership rule changes. NAB president and CEO Gordon Smith says, “NAB commends today’s unanimous decision by the Supreme Court that the FCC’s recent and long-overdue modernization of its broadcast ownership regulations was lawful and appropriate. It is critical that the Commission continue to examine its media ownership rules to ensure that America’s broadcasters are able to compete and meet the needs of local communities across the nation in today’s media landscape. We look forward to working with the Commission on this effort given the essential role radio and television broadcasters play for all Americans.”

Meadowlark Media Secures $12.6 Million in Funding. According to a story in The Hollywood Reporter, Meadowlark Media – the company formed by former ESPN president John Skipper and former ESPN radio and cable personality Dan Le Batard – has raised $12.6 million in a “Series A funding round.” Investors include DAZN, DraftKings, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, EMJ Ventures, Verance Capital, Wasserman, and Carmen Busquets. The THR story says the money will be used for “key hires” and for the “first slate of projects.” Skipper says, “With the intense competition to retain audiences at established media and to attract customers to new streaming services, we and our investors see an exciting opportunity for Meadowlark to work with the industry’s best storytellers to add the highest quality sports-focused original programming to their existing entertainment offerings.”

Buffalo Association of Black Journalists Meets with Cumulus Buffalo in Aftermath of Rob Lederman Firing. According to a report by WKBW-TV, Buffalo, the Buffalo Association of Black Journalists has met with local management of Cumulus Media’s WGRF-FM “97 Rock” in the aftermath of the firing of morning host Rob Lederman and the suspension of morning show cast members Rich Gaenzler and Chris Klein. Cumulus took the punitive actions after the three engaged in a bit about color of famous black women’s skin. BABJ issued a statement noting that Cumulus has implemented steps to “accelerate diversity training in Buffalo” and has scheduled meetings with members of Buffalo’s Black community. The statement also says BABJ is pleased with the “progress being made at ‘97 Rock’ and Cumulus Media” and is advocating for increased diversity at the cluster.

Westwood One Presents Coverage of Men’s and Women’s NCAA Final Four and Championships. This weekend’s NCAA Men’s and Women’s Final Four games as well as both championship games are being presented by NCAA exclusive national audio partner Westwood One. The broadcast of the 2021 NCAA Men’s Final Four begins on Saturday with The Final Four Show at 3:30 pm ET leading up to the first game between the Houston Cougars and Baylor Bears, followed by coverage of the semifinal between the undefeated Gonzaga Bulldogs and the UCLA Bruins. The NCAA Men’s Championship Game will tip off on Monday with the pre-game at 7:00 pm ET and the game following at 8:00 pm. Westwood One will also present coverage in Spanish, called by Rafael Hernández Brito, former Puerto Rican national team coach Carlos Morales, and Clemson Smith Muñiz. Westwood One’s presentation of the NCAA Women’s Final Four this afternoon at 5:45 pm ET, as South Carolina takes on Stanford, followed by Arizona versus Connecticut. Coverage of the Women’s National Championship Game will be on Sunday at 5:30 pm ET. The Westwood One broadcast crew for the Women’s Final Four will include Ryan Radtke on play-by-play and Debbie Antonelli as lead color analyst, her 18th time in that role and 25th year overall. Krista Blunk will serve as pregame, halftime, and postgame host.

TALKERS News Notes. The Genesis Communications Network nationally syndicated program “America Tonight” with host Kate Delaney is added to the program schedule at KROS Broadcasting’s KROS-AM, Clinton, Iowa…..The podcast network Ramble announces the launch of “Crazy Stupid Fangirls,” a new weekly podcast hosted by YouTube star Elle Mills and creator Michelle Platti. Ramble – a studio division of Audacy’s Cadence13 – says the podcast features the longtime friends and fellow fangirls diving into pop culture spanning decades from all angles, debating and dissecting their favorite movies, music, streaming shows, television, artists, creators, iconic moments and more. In addition to sharing their own fangirl picks and stories on the show, Elle and Michelle will be joined by a wide range of guests who will share their favorites.

COVID-19, Vaccines, Variants and Origins Tie for Top News/Talk Story This Week. The combination of COVID-19 stats, vaccines, concerns about variants, and questions about the origin of the coronavirus made up the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio for the week of March 29 – April 2. At #2 this week was the Derek Chauvin trial tied with race relations, and police reform. Following at #3 was the Joe Biden infrastructure stimulus initiative and the related U.S. economy. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. See this week’s complete chart here.

Thursday, December 14, 2018

| December 13, 2018

FCC to Commence 2018 Quadrennial Review of Ownership Rules. At its open meeting yesterday (12/12), the Federal Communications Commission adopted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to launch the 2018 Quadrennial Review of the Commission’s media ownership rules.  The rules subject to this quadrennial review obligation are the Local Radio Ownership Rule, the Local Television Ownership Rule, and the Dual Network Rule.  In this Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, the Commission seeks comment on whether these three rules continue to serve the public interest or whether they should be modified or eliminated in light of changes to the media marketplace.  Republican Chairman Ajit Pai and GOP commissioners Michael O’Rielly and Brendan Carr approved. Democratic commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel approved in part and objected in part.  She wrote in her statement, in part, “Newspapers have collapsed, and stations are increasingly owned by national companies with limited ties to the communities they serve. What is emerging are news deserts – areas of the country where national news dominates but local news is disappearing. Competition matters.  It is axiomatic that more owners in more markets can mean more ideas.  It can mean more news.  The converse is also true.  Too much consolidation can reduce the number of voices, jobs, and the newsgathering that results…We seek comment on a proposal allowing a single company to own an unlimited number of FM and AM radio stations in most communities in this country.  That could mean one company controls every radio station in the town where you live…To the extent this rulemaking offers thoughtful reform, I approve.  But in other aspects, I dissent.  It fails to honestly assess the impact of too many changes we propose on the values of localism, competition, and diversity that have informed this agency’s media policies in the past—and I believe should still inform our efforts in the future.”

FOX News Channel and Hannity Finish 2018 on Top of Cable Ratings. A story in The Hill citing Nielsen data reveals that FOX News Channel finished 2018 in first place in the cable TV battle, posting its best prime-time audience ever: 2.5 million average viewers.  Liberal cable newser MSNBC also enjoyed its best year, wrapping the year in second place behind FNC with 1.8 million average viewers in prime time.  As far as individual personalities go, FNC’s Sean Hannity had the highest-rated show. His average viewership was 3.275 million.  Over at MSNBC, Rachel Maddow’s program was second behind “Hannity” with 2.881 million average viewers.  While both FOX News Channel and MSNBC enjoyed prime-time ratings increases this year over 2017 (up 3% and 12%, respectively), CNN was down 6% from last year with 990,000 average viewers in prime time.  Following Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow in the list of the top five cable news/talk shows were three more FNC programs: “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with 2.827 million average viewers, “The Ingraham Angle” with Laura Ingraham – 2.61 million, and “The Five” with 2.38 million.

Scripps Media Officially Out of Radio Biz; Lotus Communications, Bustos Media, and Family Life Broadcasting Close. Yesterday (12/12), the closings took place for the sale of stations related to Scripps Media’s exit from the radio station business.  After divesting of the first 26 of its radio station properties earlier in the year, Scripps sold its remaining eight radio properties in the Tucson and Boise markets to Lotus Communications for $8 million.  In order to comply with FCC ownership caps, Lotus spun off news/talk KQTH-FM, Tucson to Family Life Broadcasting and rhythmic oldies KTGV-FM, Tucson “106.3 The Groove” to Bustos Media.  Scripps Media was created in the 2015 merger of Milwaukee-based Journal Communications and Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps in which the print properties kept the Journal name and the radio stations joined Scripps’ television assets under the Scripps Media banner.

Cumulus to Air Ben Shapiro in PM Drive on WABC, New York.  New York news/talk WABC will air the new Westwood One-syndicated Ben Shapiro two-hour radio show in addition to the one-hour podcast from 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm, beginning January 7.  The Cumulus Media station already airs the podcast right after the “Savage Nation” with Michael Savage.  In the New Year, Savage is transitioning to hosting a one-hour, daily live show and a one-hour podcast instead of his current three-hour live show. WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Ben is a fascinating host that completely cuts through the sameness that is political talk radio right now.  It’s the perfect time for us to expand his programming on 77 WABC.”

Paul J Schneider Wraps KBOI, Boise Morning Show Career Tomorrow. As announced earlier this year, longtime KBOI, Boise morning personality Paul J Schneider will leave his morning show duties after his regular broadcast tomorrow (12/14).   Schneider will continue to work with KBOI producing weekly features and a blog as well as continuing to cover Boise State Football for Learfield Sports.  Schneider says, “I have been privileged to work with great morning show partners and to be on AM radio in its heyday.  I was able to call the Boise State games through their growth trajectory and when not all the games were broadcasted live on TV.”

WFNZ, Charlotte Host Frank Garcia Arrested on Assault Charges.  According to a story in the Charlotte Observer, afternoon drive sports talk host Frank Garcia was charged with misdemeanor assault on a female last Saturday (12/8).  The report indicates Garcia is not related to the 29-year-old woman who suffered minor injuries in the incident.  Garcia – a former Carolina Panthers offensive lineman – co-hosts the afternoon show on Entercom’s WFNZ, Charlotte “The Fan” with Kyle Bailey.  He is also an assistant coach for the Charlotte Catholic High School football team.

Harry Hurley Guests on Brian Kilmeade Show. Pictured above is WPGG, Atlantic City morning personality Harry Hurley (left) with FOX News Channel and FOX News Radio star Brian Kilmeade (right) on Monday morning (12/10).  Hurley is a regular fill-in for Todd Starnes on his FOX News Radio syndicated program.

ABC Radio Offering End-of-Year Programming. Affiliates of ABC Radio are being offered five long-form shows and eight short-form programs for year-end programming. The long-form shows include: “Journeys of Faith” featuring the most memorable moments from ABC News senior national correspondent Paula Faris’ popular podcast of the same name; “Playback 2018,” a one-hour special anchored by ABC News correspondents Cheri Preston and Aaron Katersky featuring an in-depth look at the biggest stories of the year; “2018: As It Happened,” a three-hour retrospective of some of 2018’s top stories, as told through highlights of ABC News Radio’s breaking news coverage; “Perspective” is a special year-end edition of ABC News’ award-winning weekly newsmagazine; and “World News This Year” takes a look back at the major news events of the past year in 2018’s final edition of this weekly show.

Trump-Democrats Meeting, Trump-Russia Investigation, Cohen Sentenced, Immigration Issues, Google Congressional Testimony, May Survives/Brexit Issue, Time’s Person of the Year, Financial Markets Activity, and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). Tuesday’s White House meeting between President Trump and democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall; the Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russian agents; former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen sentenced to three years; the migrants in Tijuana and immigration reform; Google CEO Sundar Pichai’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee about political bias; British Prime Minister Theresa May survives a no-confidence vote and the Brexit challenges; Time’s “Person of the Year” are journalists from the U.S., Myanmar, the Philippines, and Jamal Khashoggi; the world’s financial markets activity; and NFL action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. In Miami, Entercom names Jessie Penate, a.k.a. DJ JPS, evening personality and music director for CHR WPOW “Power 96.”  He’s been with the station since 2016 when he joined as a mixer after winning the station’s “Mix Master” competition.  He says, “I’m thrilled to continue this journey on the station I grew up listening to, working with a talented team filled with passion and energy.”…..iHeartMedia and Fox Broadcasting Company announce the 2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards will air live Thursday, March 14, 2019 on FOX-TV, from Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.  The event will once again broadcast live simultaneously on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on iHeartRadio.  iHeartMedia president of entertainment enterprises John Sykes says, “This is a show that is truly controlled by music fans, because it celebrates the artists and songs that they listened to all year long on our 850 broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio app.  FOX has established itself as a premier television destination for music fans, which has made it a natural home for our Awards.”…..February’s 61st GRAMMY Awards will once again include Westwood One as the official broadcast partner in which radio stations will be offered a comprehensive array of special programming and exclusive content.  Westwood One will welcome select local stations and national programs to its Westwood One Backstage at the GRAMMY Awards, which takes place in the days leading up to the February 10 television broadcast.  It will also offer a two-hour “GRAMMYs Nomination Special” airing February 2-3 in CHR/hot AC, AC, and urban formats; “GRAMMYs Week Highlights,” airing February 4-10; and the “GRAMMYs Red Carpet Countdown.”…..Marker Broadcasting’s adult contemporary KJJZ, Palm Springs “KOOL 95.9 FM” adds Premiere Networks’ Delilah for evenings…..Cumulus Media’s CHR WRQX, Washington announces the winning schools in its 2nd Annual mix107.3 Holiday Choir Competition.  The competition was divided into two categories – kindergarten through 8th grade and high school.  North Bethesda Middle School in Bethesda, Maryland won in the first category and gets $2,500 for its music program and Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland won the high school division and will receive $5,000 for its music education program…..Entercom’s country WUSY, Chattanooga “US 101” is seeking a midday personality. Find all the information about applying here.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

| November 8, 2016

Salem Third Quarter Net Broadcast Revenue Up 3.2%.  Chief executive officer Edward Atsinger said on the Q3 conference call that Salem Media Group’s total revenue was up 5.6% but expenses were up 7.3%, “resulting in a 1.5% decrease in adjusted EBITDA.”  Atsinger said the expenses increase was almost entirely the result of salemmediagroup-logoincreased health care costs.  Back to the numbers, in the Broadcast segment, net broadcast revenue was $51.1 million, an increase of 3,2% over the same period a year ago.  However, station operating income decreased by 2.1%.  Atsinger reported that although they booked $1 million of broadcast political revenue during the quarter, that was down about 20% from the same period during the 2012 campaign.  However, Atsinger adds, “Network revenue was up 29.2% for the quarter.  Obviously, this extraordinary political year is a major driver in this revenue growth, and our nationally syndicated hosts have significantly increased their profile beyond the exposure of their own radio programs, which has resulted in an increased time spent listening to their shows and better response for advertisers, all of which has led to higher renewals, higher rates of renewals, and additional advertising clients.”

Townsquare Media Net Revenue Flat in Q3.  On a pro forma basis, Townsquare Media’s Local Marketing Solutions segment – the one that includes broadcast and digital – saw net revenue increase 3.8% over the same period a year ago.  It was the Entertainment segment – live events – that had a tough quarter and drew the company down to a net revenue decrease of 0.8%.  Townsquare Media chairman and CEO Steven Price says, “On a protownsquaremedia forma basis, our Local Marketing Solutions segment continued its positive momentum by delivering another quarter of solid growth, with net revenue increasing approximately 4% over the prior year period.  These results were offset by a decline in our Entertainment segment due primarily to exceptionally poor weather at four of our largest fairs.  Excluding those fairs, Townsquare’s pro forma net revenue and Adjusted EBITDA increased approximately 2% and 3%, respectively.”  For the first nine months of the year, Townsquare’s (pro forma) net revenue is up 2.2% and the Local Marketing Solutions segment is up 5.1%.

sagaSaga Communications Q3 Net Revenue Rises 6.8%.   Reporting financial data for the third quarter of 2016, Saga Communications’ net revenue was $36.1 million – an increase of 6.8% over the same period a year ago.  Breaking the radio segment out from the television segment, radio’s net revenue was $29.8 million – an increase of 4.6% over 2015’s third quarter.  For the year so far, Saga’s net revenue is $105.3 million – up 8.3% over the first nine months of 2015.

WABC, New York Officially Names Sid Rosenberg Imus Sports Anchor.  A press release from Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York officially announces that Sid Rosenberg is returning to the “Imus in the Morning”rosenberg show to serve as sports anchor, however the presser makes no mention of Warner Wolf, who exited the show suddenly on Friday (11/4).   WABC program director Craig Schwalb comments, “Sid’s triumphant return to ‘Imus In The Morning’ has reunited him with an incredibly gifted cast.  Their collective chemistry is exceptional.”  Rosenberg adds, “I’m really excited to be back with Imus and the guys in the same role where it all started for me nearly 17 years ago.”  Rosenberg will continue to co-host the late morning show with now-fellow Imus cast member Bernard McGuirk.

NAB to Sue FCC Over Quadrennial Review.  This suit must be filed by Monday and that is presumably what the National Association of Broadcasters will do as EVP of media relations Dennis Wharton says it’s nab-logodifficult to believe the Federal Communications Commission could recommend (on a 3-2 party line vote) going forward with decades-old policy when technology isfccnew moving the industry ahead at the speed of light.  The cross-ownership rules seem particularly out of date considering what’s been going on in other sectors of the media, says Wharton, who tells Broadcasting and Cable, “Broadcasters want to compete in the digital age and continue being a trusted source for local news and information, but FCC rules need to reflect 2016 and not the 1960s.  It defies belief that the FCC allows AT&T/DirecTV and Charter/Time Warner mergers while barring two Topeka TV stations from combining, or a radio station from buying a newspaper.”

Today’s Presidential Election; the U.S. House and Senate Races; Voter Fraud and Poll Hacking Concerns; UVA Administrator Awarded $3 Million in Rolling Stone Rape Story Case; Hillary Clinton’s Emails Troubles; and NFL Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/7).  The presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton; the down-ticket races for U.S. House and Senate seats; concerns over voter fraud and the possibility of hacking the electronic polls; a jury awards a University of Virginia administrator $3 million in her case against Rolling Stone and the author of a discredited story about a gang rape at the school; the private email server case surrounding Hillary Clinton’s campaign; and the weekend’s NFL Action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

Ginny Morris to Chair RAB Board of Directors.  The Radio Advertising Bureau announces the new slate of officers recently to its board of directors and new, incoming directors.  Chairperson and CEO of Hubbard Radio Ginny Morris is elected chair of the RAB board of directors.  Cox Media Group RVP Susan Larkin ismorrisginny the vice chair.  The finance chair is Steve Newberry, president and CEO of Commonwealth rabBroadcasting.  The secretary is Mike Hulvey, COO, Neuhoff Communications, and immediate past chair is Hartley Adkins, president, Northeast Division & Corporate Operations, iHeartMedia.  Newly elected directors are: Brian Beasley, EVP, chief operating officer, Beasley Media Group; Jonathan Brewster, CEO/president, Cherry Creek Radio LLC; Mike Tarter, president/CEO, Forcht Broadcasting; and Sabina Widmann, VP, general manager/director of sales, radio, Univision Radio.  RAB president and CEO Erica Farber says, “We are excited to have Ginny Morris at the helm of the RAB board of directors.  With Ginny’s tremendous experience and passion for this industry, the organization is well-positioned to continue to lead and advocate for radio.”